Importance of Marketing Research
So, you have a brilliant idea for a new product and decide to start a business around it. You have been in the industry for years and just know that this is the big breakthrough in the field that will be met with excitement. You have discussed the idea with your family and they all think it is genius and will definitely work. Your friends also support you. You start putting money into product development and finally your “baby” is ready to be introduced to the world. However, the big day comes and your bright invention is not selling to the consumer. What went wrong?
Talking to a group of people was an attempt to collect data in a qualitative manner through an open conversation. The direction was right. However, the mistake lay in the people, whose insights were gathered. Your family and friends are likely to be biased to your own opinion. They heard you talking about the business idea before and might have already accepted your own view that it will succeed. Your focus group participants or online survey respondents should be unbiased and represent the potential customer base for the product being introduced to the market.
One of the biggest and costly mistakes that a business can make is to overlook the important insight from its potential customer. As an expert in the field, your knowledge is only based on the past experience, which might be outdated. What consumers valued in the past might be completely different from what they value now as values themselves are subjective and are time sensitive. Without reaching out to your customer and doing a “reality check”, you might end up relying on data that is no longer valid and make the decision that is inconsistent with consumers’ perception.
Throughout the years, there have been numerous examples of such “great idea” failures. One of such examples is the decision to reinvent a famous soft drink product with a new slogan of “The best just got better” in 1985. The company felt the heat and learned what it is like to disregard the need for consumers’ opinion when the slogan was met with the disappointment and perception of betrayal.
Marketing research is an essential piece that should be considered not only during the startup phase of your business but also as an ongoing practice. After all, the customers are the most essential component to your business and the information about their perception can be detrimental to your business success.
The goal of marketing research is to provide accurate data, upon which important business decisions are made. However, to use this valuable tool, one must have an understanding of the process as well as its limitations. In order to accurately incorporate your customers’ voice in the decision, it is not only important to conduct the research but also assure that the process for it, from defining the research objective to interpreting the obtained information, is carried out without a flaw.